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Primitivo, King Of Puglia

Just like his Southern Italian wines, winemaker Claudio Quarta embodies elegance.  What is even more striking is his heart, which, with his family’s support, led him to abandon his successful pharmaceutical career and begin a life dedicated to the vine in his native Puglia. After two successful stock market listings with his company Biosearch Italia SPA (later, Vicuron Pharmaceuticals), one on the Italian stock market and the other on NASDAQ, Claudio took off his labcoat: he wanted something new from life. At his home in Philadelphia, Claudio saw himself in a wine glass and found the root of his new passion. He began researching the territories most suitable for making wines from the indigenous Southern Italian grape varieties he loved. Ultimately, he founded three estates across Puglia and Campania, viticultural wonderlands that he calls a “land of excitement.” The first was Tenute Eméra near Lizzano in Puglia, where he planted vines for his Primitivo di Manduria DOP. Claudio named his wine “Antica Masseria” after the ancient local farmhouses unique to the region. For 15 years now, Claudio has dedicated himself to producing only the highest quality wines, faithfully expressing the micro-territories of origin, and exciting the wine-lovers across the globe.

Claudio Quarta Primitivo
The Quarta family in the old vineyard in Puglia.


A long way from the large crowds of other Italian provinces, sun-kissed Puglia is a beautiful land of ancient towns with a proud cultural history expressed in stone, marble, food, and wine.  It possesses an incredible array of agricultural delights and dazzling turquoise waters, which result in a pure and delicious cuisine. Proud local chefs transform the region’s bounty into treats at their trattorias.  Imagine sipping a glass of ruby red Tenute Emera Antica Masseria Primitivo di Manduria DOP while having a traditional Puglian lunch. Your plate of hand-made orecchiette (ear-shaped homemade pasta) and delicious polpette (small meatballs) comes with a side of freshly picked grilled local vegetables drizzled with peppery extra virgin olive oil.

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The exact origins of the “King” vine of the Puglia region are uncertain. Still, we know that it is a great traveler: it is originally from Croatia, and after crossing the Mediterranean Sea, it arrived in Puglia long ago. In the mid-1800s, it was brought to America, where it changed its name and became known as Zinfandel, and adapted uniquely to its new land. Primitivo was the first cultivar Claudio planted at Tenute Eméra after discovering its potential in this historic wine zone.

Primitivo di Manduria “Antica Masseria”



Primitivo comes from the word “before” and refers to the timing of the grape’s maturation. It is the first among indigenous varieties to achieve an ideal balance and become ready for harvest and the cellar, with its thin skin and high sugar content. Claudio Quarta collects his Primitivo in the early dawn light of August’s last week, when Puglia’s daytime temperatures are still very high, to protect the grape’s condition and freshness.


Primitivo di Manduria “Antica Masseria”



In the 1940s and 50s in Puglia, winemakers used concrete for fermentation tanks because of its excellent thermodynamic properties and ease of use. Concrete also avoids the electrostatic charges that can occur in steel and preserve a wine’s taste and characteristics. Claudio believes this is the “material of choice” for Primitivo. All the Antica Masseria wines from Claudio Quarta are fermented and aged in concrete to showcase their bold, fresh flavors.

Primitivo di Manduria “Antica Masseria”



Puglia, one of Italy’s most important regions for wine production, is truly unique: it is a narrow and long peninsula stretching into the Mediterranean Sea. This geography allows constant cool sea breezes to flow through the vines, gently maturing the grapes while preserving fresh acidity. The sustainably farmed Primitivo di Manduria DOP vineyards at Tenute Eméra sit on an ancient benchland rich in nutrients and are quite literally a stone’s throw from the splendid crystal-clear sea.

Primitivo di Manduria “Antica Masseria”



Nature, history, and great food&wine culture: Puglia, already named among the “Top Wine Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast in 2013, attracts wine lovers from all over the world. Tenute Eméra winery offers hospitality and tasting itineraries dedicated to Primitivo and complemented by sumptuous local delicacies.  Wine tourists frequently stay at the splendid Palazzo Margherita in nearby Bernalda (Matera) while falling in love with this beautiful “land of excitement” and its native son: Tenute Eméra’s Antica Masseria Primitivo di Manduria DOP.

Primitivo di Manduria “Antica Masseria”


“Antica Masseria” Primitivo di Manduria DOP – Tenute Eméra Claudio Quarta

Aromas of candied blackberry and cherry mark the nose, lifted by plenty of pepper, violet, and tilled earth accents. The medium-bodied palate is framed by a solid structure of rigid tannins and juicy acidity, with plush dark-fruit flavors and spice filling it out. – Wine Enthusiast “Antica Masseria” Primitivo di Manduria DOP
Top Accolades and Scores

  • 88/100 – Wine Enthusiast
  • 90/100 – Vinitaly Awards
  • 91/100 – Wine Spectator – Smart Buy and Top 100 wines of 2016
  • 4/5 – FIS: Italian Sommelier Foundation

Appellation: Primitivo di Manduria DOP
Winemaker: Claudio Quarta
Winery: Tenute Eméra




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